Since I work from home, I don't really spend a whole lot of time in the car. But I recently had a stint where I had a lot of driving to do and got to take full advantage of my XM Radio subscription -- and it made me feel old. I don't just mean, old...I mean OLD. I was tooling through the stations and found a station that was rocking out some Morrissey, and it made me smile. Then the DJ said, "you're listening to First Wave... Classic Alternative." Wait, what? Classic? Classic Alternative? There is such a thing? I almost changed the channel because they just called ME classic -- but then Camper Van Beethoven came on and I thought, "Well, if this is classic, then so it goes.">
It did get me thinking, though. Just because something is "classic" doesn't mean it isn't useful or entertaining. I mean, there are worse things than being classic, and I think that email marketing falls into that classic category. I'm talking "Dukes of Hazzard" classic: though it's getting older, it is always relevant. But what is it that makes email marketing a classic? Here's my list -- but what do you think? What makes email classic?
Email is a preferred channel. There are always people that are going to want to communicate with marketers, and email will remain a channel preference for many -- not just in the short term, but also far into the future. Just as there are still effective applications for direct mail, billboards and TV commercials -- there will always be a place for email to play.
Email's ROI is undeniable. Regardless of what you may think about social and mobile marketing, there is still no better measured channel than email, and the ROI far surpasses that of traditional, more costly channels. New channels will come and go, but email's ability to generate substantial revenue for every dollar spent will keep it a popular tool in a marketer's toolbox.
Email is entrenched. Everyone comes around eventually. Like it or not, email is still the foundation of communication for businesses today. So, even if the college crowd doesn't leverage email heavily for marketing purposes today -- just wait until they are forced to use email for business. It's addictive, admit it. They'll come around. If email didn't exist, it would need to be invented.
Email engages at a comfortable level. Email holds the middle ground. It isn't quite as personal as Facebook -- but is more personal than mass advertising. So we have the unique ability to be relevant without being terribly creepy. Email provides a good balance -- and I have yet to see any communication channel that can rival that.
Feeling old yet? Or are you just a Classic? I'm still coming to terms with the "Classic Alternative," but I love that email is a classic channel -- is that weird?